This Sunday, June 11th U2 will perform in Miami, Florida as part of their “Joshua Tree 2017” Tour. As a longtime U2 fan and as a Venezuelan, I seek to express why I believe U2 should address “the Venezuelan topic” not only at their Miami show, but throughout the rest of their tour as well.
It’s likely that a lot of people unfamiliar with U2’s history might ask themselves what an Irish musical group could possibly have to do with the current situation in Venezuela. The answer is simple: U2 has – in the past and present – given overwhelming support to various liberation movements in their albums and tours.
The Anti-Apartheid movement in South Africa, the Polish Solidarity movement, the liberation of Aung San Suu Kyi a political prisoner in Burma, and Iran’s liberation movement in 2009 are just some of the causes they have publically supported. Furthermore, Bono is perhaps the single most important activist for human development in the African continent.
As the world’s biggest rock band, U2 can inform and influence millions of people by leading conversation and shaping opinion.
It is congruent, then, with U2’s history, as well as with this tour’s narrative and the album it honors (The Joshua Tree), to ask them to observe in detail what is currently occurring in Venezuela, and that they include Venezuela as a permanent element in their shows.
This tour’s first phase is halfway completed and the band has yet to reference the very intense conflict in Venezuela. But landing in Miami will bring about pressure to do so due to heavy media coverage by Latin media networks in the United States, as well as media representing many Latin American countries. This provides the band with a unique opportunity to amplify whatever message they choose to carry throughout the whole of the Southern continent.
It’s also worth noting that Joshua Tree is an album that centers in part on historical conflicts in Latin American. In my opinion, if U2 wants to give a renewed message as it’s always their intention, then addressing Venezuela is unavoidable for them. Today, Venezuela is the center of the “Latin American conflict”, it feels like it should be ‘no choice at all” to shine the spotlight on it at the present time.
Perhaps the strongest example of U2’s need for renewal in their show is during their song “Mothers of The Disappeared” which is inspired by and dedicated to Argentina’s “Madres De Plaza De Mayo” as well as El Salvador’s “Comadres”, whose sons and daughters “disappeared” at the hands for Dictatorships or regimes that were favored or installed by American anti-communist foreign policy during Ronald Reagan’s presidency.
If U2 wishes to reflect today’s most pressing challenges and how Latin-American conflicts have changed since the 80’s they must turn their sights on Venezuela. The “Mothers of the Disappeared” segment is one of many opportunities to address it, it would certainly be of console to many present in the Miami audience, and back in Venezuela where in the last two months more than 60 People have died in the streets protesting, mostly young men and women, and many more injured or incarcerated.
There’s another very important point.
Amnesty International has been one of the organizations that U2 has supported immensely since the beginning of their musical careers and currently, Venezuela’s highest profile opposition leader, Leopoldo Lopez, is of high priority for Amnesty International, which provides even more compatibility between Venezuela’s opposition, resistance movements and U2.
Back to this Sunday’s U2 concert in Miami… It will surely be attended by many thousands of Venezuelans and will be widely covered by Latin media. The Venezuelan topic is in the minds of not only Venezuelans but all peoples of Latin America and if U2 includes Venezuela early in the show, either by mentioning it, or by including some content on their large screens, I believe it will earn the band a very special kind of love from the audience and would guarantee a magical and memorable show for all those present.
As a U2 fan, a saga that began for me 30 years ago when I listened to “With or Without You” for the first time, I hope it happens this way.
Midnight, our sons and daughters
Cut down, taken from us
Hear their heartbeat
We hear their heartbeat
Moises Szarf, is a Digital Marketing professional leaving in Miami, Florida. Father of two daughters, he emigrated from Venezuela in the year 2000.